Reading the runes on the hotel market at the moment is a little difficult. Premier Inns are opening a major unit on Leicester Square and continue to grow, with openings abroad now increasing. Accor are refocusing their Ibis/Etap brands with relaunches of new identities. Travelodge continues to open new properties despite its embarrassing financial problems, and Tune Hotels continue their ambitious growth strategy under CEO Mark Lankester.The growth of the budget hotel has been a marked phenomena of the last ten years. Initially Travelodge , an idea birthed by Rocco Forte, was a logical extension of the Little Chef brand and mirrored the success in France of Campanile. These brands offered a full meal service but increasingly these units now operate without food as an element of their offering, a practise that is creeping up the 3 and 4 star chains. Premier Inn still either builds around a food operation or adds food and a bar as in their new conversion of an office block in Croydon. The competitive pressure comes in different places – B&B’s often find their rates are not competitive with the advance rates offered by Premier or Travelodge, whilst many four stars look at the room quality and wonder how they can justify their higher prices.
Tune enters this market with a room rate and operating philosophy that challenges the current practices further, and these were detailed in our Miniview of their property in Westminster, whence comes the GM of their latest property to open, the Tune Paddington. With a room rate (note a room rate, not per person) of normally £35, elevated during the Olympics to the giddy heights of £99 Tunes soon to be four hotels in London will be very competitive. Locations are good, by mainline railway stations – Westminster is just behind Waterloo, Liverpool Street with its garden, the latest here Paddington a 5 minute walk from the mainline to Heathrow and points West, and soon to be added Kings Cross where the Tune Hotel opens on 9th July.